Last Updated on: March 28, 2022
With the rapid growth and innovation in the technological sphere, more and more devices are becoming connected. In this article, we will be looking at 6 cyber security threats which have resulted from this development.
Cyber security is amongst the fastest growing industries, with changes, improvements, enhancements always going on. More and more people are becoming hip to the importance of data protection, which has led to an increased awareness of cyber security threats. For this article, we will look at 6 threats you should be aware of today.
Crypto-jacking is a cybersecurity threat or crime which entails the unauthorized use of another individual’s device, whether it be a smartphone, laptop, computer, tablet, or even server. The cybercriminal will then use this access to mine for cryptocurrency. Like with the vast majority of crimes online, the primary objective is profit, but unlike other threats of its kind, this one is designed to remain undetected by the victim.
Cryptocurrency mining requires a large amount of CPU processing power, therefore computer hackers are able to generate revenue by piggybacking off the CPU resources of their victim’s systems. For a business, a system that has been hijacked will likely experience significant performance issues, which could ultimately lead to downtime, which in turn costs the business money.
- Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are essentially when a hacker sends out an unsolicited email with attachments and links, pretending to be something legitimate, like a bank or your boss. The links, of course, lead to the hacker’s very own website. They will usually ask for account details. A phishing attack can result in a number of unfortunate things such as the loss of sensitive company data, ransomware attacks, identify threats, credential theft, and data breaches. Cybercriminals will usually use company cloud applications to launch phishing attacks. Since these types of attacks are still fairly new, a cybercriminal can look to take advantage of an employee’s trust. It’s best practice for a company to take advantage of email phishing software, and also provide employees with the necessary training to protect themselves from such attacks.
Malware is a general term used to describe a range of malicious programs, such as worms and viruses. These malicious programs or files are usually aimed at corrupting company networks, data, and systems. A virus is basically a piece of code that is designed to replicate itself. Once it does that, it will usually attach itself to important files, such as system and host files. Such viruses can lay dormant in a system for a time until it’s activated, spreading across the length and breadth of a system and/or network.
A worm is self-replicating, it’s able to make a copy of itself without having to attach itself to another program, unlike your virus. It, in turn, does not need to be activated in order to spread. Its primary objective is to infect as many systems as possible while remaining active. A worm will oftentimes spread by using specific code within an operating system that is invisible and automatic to the user. Once a worm is able to get onto your system, it will immediately start to spread to unprotected systems and areas of a computer.
Fortunately, it is possible to prevent malware. To do that adequately, you’ll want to install the appropriate antimalware and antivirus software on all systems and their networked devices and ensure they are all kept up to date. Computer users should also be trained to know what to look out for. Not to download any attachment they find in an email or click on random links in unsolicited emails. Downloading free software is another way such software is able to get onto systems. P2P file sharing, though very popular, is another thing you’ll want to be very cautious about. Avoid clicking on any ads, especially ones that link to unfamiliar neighborhoods.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things (IoT) is essentially the connection of devices all over the world via the net. With IoT, sensors are able to analyze, communicate collect and act on data, offering innovative and creative ways for media, technology, and telecommunication companies to add value, whether it’s through the development of new revenue streams or the adoption of new businesses entirely or developing a more effective and efficient experience for the consumer.
Because of the convenience, you will find a lot of companies and individuals gravitating towards IoT, but, the thing that makes them so appealing, is also the thing that makes them vulnerable. Hackers are capable of exploiting internet connectivity as a means of stealing data. As more and more companies move over to IoT, it’s not difficult to predict that, in the not-so-distant future, IoT will become one of the biggest cyber threats to look out for.
Many reports have indicated that the market for the Internet of Things (IoT) is likely to grow in excess of $1 trillion within the next couple of years.
- Cloud Vulnerabilities
The more end-users and companies rely on cloud storage, the greater the risk of a major data breach. There is a wide range of cyberattacks that are aimed at cloud services, but a lot of businesses are complacent, believing they are secure, simply because of cloud security technology.
But the reality is that technology is only one part of the puzzle. Because there isn’t a single piece of technology capable of removing every vulnerability. For robust protection, a more holistic approach need to be adopted. Insurance is one thing to consider, as a form of protection, and as a part of a cyber-risk management plan.
When a computer is attacked by a ransomware virus, that system is immediately locked, usually by some form of encryption. This prevents the victim from being able to access their data or the device entirely. To regain access to their data and/or system, the victim is thus forced to pay a ransom, usually in the form of virtual currency, like Bitcoin. A ransomware virus can infect a system through an email attachment, infected external storage devices, such as a USB stick or external hard drive, a compromised hard drive, or an infected application.
To protect your system against these kinds of attacks, end-users should consider backing up their personal data, along with any and all their programs. They could also include security software. Users should also refrain from clicking on links in emails, especially from unknown senders. A victim of such attacks should do their utmost to avoid paying the ransom. Any organization should have firewall software in place to block unauthorized access to their network and the systems on it. A company can also limit the amount of data a cybercriminal could potentially compromise, by segmenting it across many networks and zones, each requiring its own form of authentication to access.
Uchenna Ani-Okoye is a former IT Manager who now runs his own computer support website